Jim Baker – A Steel Guitar Christmas (1975)

frontcover1Baker was born July 26, 1933 in Eldridge, Ala. and grew up in Flint, Mich. He moved to Nashville in 1963 after serving in the U.S. Army. Baker was a steel guitar player as a youth and later played Dobro and pedal steel guitar in Nashville. He played the Grand Ole Opry throughout the early part of his career and was a member of the Mel Tillis Statesiders Band in the early 1970s. He played on numerous country albums and was in steady demand as a steel session player. Ernie Ashworth, Mel Tillis, Jim and Jessie, Bill Carlisle, Roy Drusky, Justin Tubb and Leroy Van Dyke were among the artists Baker played with.

Pedal steel player Jim Baker, 75, who played on the Grand Ole Opry and with Mel Tillis’ band died Oct. 5.2008 (by countrystandardtime.com)

This is his christmas album and this will be the last entry of christmas music this year !

Enjoy the beautiful sound of the steel-guitar !

jim-baker

Personnel:
Kim Baker (steel-guitar)

backcover

Tracklist:
01. White Christmas 2.15
02. Winter Wonderland 2.15
03. Blue Christmas 2.21
04. Christmas Song 2.03
05. Little Drummer Boy 2.00
06. O’ Little Town Of Bethlehem 2.49
07. Silver Bells 2.48
08. Silent Night 2.01
09. Christmas In My Hometown 2.00
10. Jingle Bell Rock 1.54
11. Here Comes Santa Clause 2.15
12. Rock Around The Christmas Tree 2.42

labela1

*
**

 

 

Jann Browne – Count Me In (1995)

FrontCöver1Jann Browne (born March 14, 1954 in Anderson, Indiana) is an American country singer. She moved to South California in 1978 where she performed in a number of Orange County country bars.  From 1981 through 1983, before her solo career, she was a vocalist with the Western swing group Asleep at the Wheel. She has recorded four studio albums, and has charted three singles on the Hot Country Songs charts. Her highest single is the 1990s “Tell Me Why” at No. 18. She was named “Female Entertainer of the Year”, and her song “Louisville” was named “Song of the Year”, by the California Country Music Association. (by wikipedia)

Nine years ago when I bought this CD, I was disappointed and did not play it very much. But today I decided to play it again and see what I think. I am pleasantly surprized – I do not know what I was thinking of 9 years ago, but I really like it now. It could have been that since it did not come up to the high standard of Jann’s earlier releases – TELL ME WHY and IT ONLY HURTS WHEN I LAUGH – I wrote it off as a loser. I have completely changed my mind now.

JannBrowne01I think anyone who really likes Jann Browne will like this album, and I am now going to start playing it more. I see that some marketplace sellers have the album in the $6 range. If I did not already own it, I would pick it up in a second at this price.

Jann Browne is a fantastic traditional country artist, who never did get the credit she deserved. Part of the problem was the fact that when she came out with her music, Nashville wanted a more “Pop” sound, and Jann refused to change her style just to sell records. (by H. G. Milton)

This is Jann Browne’s least country-sounding record yet. Browne’s new record is still more country than a lot of what comes out of Music Row nowadays, but without neo-trad producer Steve Fishell behind the boards this time, Dennis Caplinger and Browne produced a record whose sound is always tasteful, but rarely engaging. While her first two albums supplemented her own songs with a healthy amount of well-chosen covers, Browne wrote or co-wrote every one of the 12 songs here, all of which are fine examples of neo-trad ’90’s country that could stand to dig a little deeper. It’s easy to admire Browne’s new songs – all are well-constructed and intelligently written .

JannBrowne02

It’s also too easy to remain emotionally detached from them. Her vocals are as strong as ever (try imagining Emmylou Harris with a little more twang), and while a fair amount of the country grit has been washed from her sound, the accompaniment provides more than adequate support for the songs. They, however, contain too many generic rock gestures (“Hearts on the Blue Train,” “Ain’t No Promise” and the title track) and not enough of the deeply-felt honky-tonk soul that’s powered Browne’s best music. (by Don Yates)

AlternateFrontCovers

Alternate frontcovers

Personnel:
Matthew Barnes (guitar, background vocals)
Jann Browne (vocals)
Dennis Caplinger (guitar, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, viola, weissenborn)
Frank Cotinola (drums)
Chris Gaffney (accordion)
Pat Gallagher (acoustic guitar)
Rick MacDonald (guitar, penny whistle)
Jay Dee Maness (pedal steel guitar)
Wyman Reese (organ)
Keith Rosier (guitarron, bass)
+
background vocals:
Rosie Flores – Herb Pedersen – Roger Stebner

Booklet1

Tracklist:
01. Hearts On The Blue Train (Browne) 4.03
02. Ain’t No Promise (In The Promised Land) (Browne/Barnes) 4.00
03. I Have No Witness (Browne/Barnes) 5.27
04. Trouble’s Here (Browne) 3.05
05. Red Moon Over Lugano (Browne) 4.57
06. One Tired Man (Browne/Barnes) 5.09
07. Dear Loretta (Browne/Gallagher) 4.00
08. Count Me In (Browne/Barnes) 4.27
09. Baby Goodbye (Browne/Gallagher) 4.50
10. Long Time Gone (Browne/Barnes) 3.43
11. When The Darkest Hours Pass (Browne/Gallagher) 3.43
12. White Roses (Browne/Gallagher) 4.06

CD1
*
**

Setlist1

Setlist

Live2015

Live in 2015

Johnny Cash – Orange Blossom Special (1965)

FrontCover1Orange Blossom Special is the 21st album released by musician Johnny Cash on Columbia Records in 1965. The recordings include country and folk standards, such as “The Long Black Veil”, “When It’s Springtime in Alaska”, “Danny Boy” and “Wildwood Flower”.

The song that gave the title to the album was “Orange Blossom Special”, released previous to the album, it became a success. At the time it was recorded, the authorship of the song was not widely known, being commonly covered by diverse artists. Cash learned from Maybelle Carter that the song was written by Ervin T. Rouse, who Cash later met during a show in Miami, Florida. Cash’s recording is unusual in his repertoire for featuring a tenor saxophone solo by Boots Randolph, an instrument (and musician) rarely spotlighted on Cash’s recordings.

The album also contains three covers of Bob Dylan songs, that he gave Cash after a concert in Newport, Rhode Island. “It Ain’t Me Babe”, “Don’t Think Twice, it’s Alright” and “Mama, You’ve Been on My Mind”. The last one was only recorded by Dylan as a demo, but it was first released in an album by Cash. Cash had previously borrowed the melody of “Don’t Think Twice” for his recording “Understand Your Man.”

Released on February 1965, the album reached number three in Billboard’s Country albums as well as forty-nine in pop albums respectively. The single “Orange Blossom Special” peaked number three on Billboards Hot Country Singles and the duet with June Carter “It Ain’t Me Babe” peaked number four in Hot Country Singles.

JohnnyCash1965_01

Following the recording of the concept album Bitter Tears: Ballads of the American Indian, Cash recorded ‘Orange Blossom Special’ between August 27 and December 20, 1964. The recordings included a series of country and folk standards such as Lefty Frizzell’s, “The Long Black Veil”, Tillman Franks’ “When It’s Springtime in Alaska (It’s Forty Below)”, A.P. Carter’s “Wildwood Flower”, Jester Hairston’s “Amen”, and Frederick Weatherly’s Danny Boy.

Due to the acclaim that the cover of the song “Orange Blossom Special” received from the audiences that attended live concerts of Cash, a single of the song was released previous to the album, in February 1965 reaching number three in the Billboard singles.[3] During the mid 1960s, the authorship of the song was not widely known. Cash asked Maybelle Carter during the recording session about the original author, Carter stated that the song was written by Ervin T. Rouse and his brother Gordon. Carter also told Cash that the songwriter resided in Florida. Cash called Florida disk jockey Jim Brooker, who told him that he lived with the seminoles on the Everglades. In order to locate him, Brooker announced on air during his radio show, that if Rouse was listening to call the station to give him the phone number of Cash. Rouse called the station and contacted Cash who told him that he would be soon in Miami, Florida for a scheduled concert.

JohnnyCashInTheStudio

During an intermission of the show in Miami, a man approached Cash backstage claiming to be Ervin Rouse. Cash recalled hearing the name but he could not remember who Rouse was. After clarifying that he had written a few songs, he remarked that one he co-wrote with his brother, named “The Special”, was particularly successful. Cash recognized that he was talking about Orange Blossom Special. Cash believed the man, who actually was Rouse, that he had traveled from his house in the everglades in a custom-made swamp buggy to the house of his sister in Miami, where he borrowed her bicycle to ride ten miles to be at the concert. Cash invited the man to perform the song with him in the concert, receiving the acclaim of the audience. Later Rouse stated: “The Special belongs to everybody by now, I guess, but it used to be my best number”[3][5][6] Cash’s back-cover album notes for Orange Blossom Special are devoted to describing his meeting with Rouse.

Complementary to the standards, the album also featured covers of Bob Dylan. Cash had met Dylan briefly backstage during one of his performances at The Gaslight Cafe, but they talked extensively after a show in Newport, Rhode Island. Cash and Dylan traded songs in a motel, where Joan Baez wrote for Cash the lyrics of “It Ain’t Me Babe” and “Mama, You’ve Been on My Mind”. The first song was originally released in Dylan’s Another Side of Bob Dylan, but the second was only recorded as a demo by Dylan. In addition “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right” was included. To publicize both of their artists, Columbia Records released the single “It Ain’t Me Babe” with the liner: “A new song from Bob Dylan on a new single sung by Johnny Cash”.

The album was released on February 1965, it reached number three in Billboard’s Country albums and forty-nine in pop albums respectively. The single “Orange Blossom Special” peaked number three on Billboards Hot Country Singles as well as eighty in the Hot 100. The duet with June Carter “It Ain’t Me Babe” peaked number four in Hot Country Singles and number fifty-eight in the Hot 100.

JohnnyCash1965_02

Billboard wrote: “Cash is in fine form here and he has been coupled with a great selection of material. Cash displays a sense of drama and wit”.[10] Meanwhile, Western Folklore also praised the album as well as the recognition of the original author of the title song: “Johnny Cash offers an interesting collection of songs, partially reflecting the Folk Song Revival’s influence, in Orange Blossom Special. While the album is good, the notes are even better for they give information previously unreported on the title tune of the album and its credited composer, Ervin Rouse.” AllMusic later wrote about the album: “Even if the best and most popular of the songs on this 1965 album are the ones most likely to show up on greatest-hits compilations, it certainly rates as one of Cash’s finer non-greatest-hits releases”.

The song “Orange Blossom Special” later became a regular part of Cash’s concerts, with Cash performing both harmonica parts himself, usually with a dual-harmonica technique. During a performance included on his At Folsom Prison live album, Cash jokes that the song requires him to “change harmonicas faster than kiss[ing] a duck”. (by wikipedia)

Single

Personnel:
Norman Blake (guitar)
June Carter (vocals)
Johnny Cash (vocals, guitar)
Ray Edenton (guitar)
Karl Garvin (trumpet)
Marshall Grant (bass)
W.S. Holland (drums)
Charlie McCoy (harmonica)
Bill McElhiney (trumpet)
Luther Perkins (guitar)
Bill Pursell (piano)
Boots Randolph (saxophone)

BackCover

Tracklist:
01. Orange Blossom Special (E.Rouse/G.Rouse) 3.06
02. The Long Black Veil (Wilkin/Dill) 3.06
03. It Ain’t Me Babe (Dylan) 3.03
04. The Wall (Howard) 2.09
05. Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right (Dylan) 2.56
06. You Wild Colorado (Cash) 1.45
07. Mama, You’ve Been on My Mind (Dylan) 3.02
08. When It’s Springtime In Alaska (Franks) 2.36
09. All Of God’s Children Ain’t Free (Cash) 2.11
10. Danny Boy (Weatherly) 5.08
11. Wildwood Flower (Carter) 2.10
12. Amen (Hairston) 2.05
+
13. Engine 143 (mono version) (Traditional) 3.31
14. (I’m Proud) The Baby Is Mine (Cash) 2.30
15. Mama, You’ve Been On My Mind (earlier version) (Dylan) 2.54

LabelB1
*
**

Johnny Cash – The Christmas Collection (2003)

FrontCover1No matter what genre or style he chose to tackle, everything Johnny Cash recorded in his long career came out sounding like, well, Johnny Cash. That’s a good thing. With Cash, you knew what you were getting. This 20-song anthology collects some of the holiday tracks he did for Columbia Records over the years, and not surprisingly, it sounds like Johnny Cash singing Christmas songs and reciting holiday-themed poems. Again, that’s a good thing. Highlights include a nice version of “Blue Christmas” and a wonderfully balanced and soothing take on “Silent Night,” although everything here has that Johnny Cash essence. That’s a good thing. ( by Steve Leggett)

Booklet1Tracklist:
01. Blue Christmas (Hayes/Johnson) 2.22
02. The Little Drummer Boy (Simone/Onorati/Davis) 2.32
03. The Christmas Spirit (Album Version) (Cash) 5-00
04. I Heard The Bells On Christmas Day (Longfellow/Marks) 2.28
05. Away In A Manger (Walker/J.Cash) 3.06
06. Joy To The World (Walker/Händel/Watts) 2.06
07. Silent Night (Album Version) (Gruber/Mohr) 3:26
08. Christmas As I Knew It (Howard/J.Cash) 3.39
09. Ringing The Bells For Jim (Album Version) (Howard/Carter) 2.45
10. Here Was A Man (Album Version) (Bond/Ritter) 2.40
11. The Gifts They Gave (Album Version) (Cash) 3.30
12. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear (Album Version) (Sears/Willis) 3.38
13. O Come All Ye Faithful  (Walker/Oakeley/Reading) 2.57
14. Little Gray Donkey (Tazewell/Wagner) 4.41
15. The Christmas Guest (Album Version) (Grandpa Jones/Walker) 4.37
16. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing (Walker/Wesley/Mendelssohn) 2.30
17. The Ballad Of The Harp Weaver (Album Version) (Millay) 4.21
18. Who Kept The Sheep (Album Version) (Carter/Cash 1.55
19. (There’ll Be) Peace In The Valley (For Me) (Album Version) (Dorsey) 2.47
20. That Christmasy Feeling (Peppers/Cash) 2.13

CD*
**

Johnny Cash – Hymns By Johnny Cash (1959)

FrontCover1Hymns by Johnny Cash was the fifth album and first gospel album of Johnny Cash. The album was produced in 1958 and was then officially released in 1959. An alternate version of the song “It was Jesus” was an added bonus track after the album was re-issued in 2002. Cash left Sun Records because Sam Phillips wouldn’t let him record the gospel songs he’d grown up with. Columbia promised him to release an occasional gospel album; this was a success for him to record. The album was Cash’s first and most popular gospel album, and is an example of traditional hymns set to country gospel music. The album was recorded simultaneously with The Fabulous Johnny Cash.

Although Sam Phillips steered Cash away from gospel and sacred music in the mid-’50s at Sun Records, in fact much of what Cash recorded in his early career still had a devout tone, often with piety and imagery that wouldn’t have sounded foreign in a gospel context. So although this 1959 album was entirely devoted to religious songs, it didn’t really sound that different from his prior work, and remains accessible to Cash fans whether or not they’re religious or have an interest in sacred song. The arrangements remain as sparse as most from his 1950s catalog, though stately backup vocals are often present. Too, these aren’t strictly traditional numbers, as Cash writes or co-writes about half the tunes. Sure, “Are All the Children In” skirts bathos with its spoken sections, yet songs like “The Old Account” and “It Was Jesus” have the country-rockabilly bounce characteristic of much of his secular material. In fact, despite its specialized focus, it’s somewhat generic 1950s Cash at a casual listen, though even generic 1950s Cash is good. The CD reissue adds just one bonus track, and a peripheral one at that: a “mono EP version” of “It Was Jesus,” which is lacking the backup vocals found on the LP one. (by Richie Unterberger)

JohnnyCash1959Personnel:
Johnny Cash (vocals, guitar)
Marshall Grant (bass)
Buddy Harman (drums)
Don Helms (steel-guitar)
Marvin Hughes (piano)
Morris Palmer (drums)
Luther Perkins (guitar)
+
The Jordanaires (background vocals)

BackCover1
Tracklist:
01. It Was Jesus (Cash) 2.08
02. I Saw a Man (Smith) 2.36
03. Are All The Children In (Starrett) 1.58
04. The Old Account (Traditional) 2.29
05. Lead Me Gently Home (Thompson) 2.04
06. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot (Traditional) 1.56
07. Snow In His Hair (Pack) 2.24
08. Lead Me Father (Cash) 2.31
09. I Call Him (J.Cash/R.Cash) 1.50
10. These Things Shall Pass (Hamblen) 2.20
11. He’ll Be A Friend (Cash) 2.00
12. God Will /Loudermilk/Wilkin) 2.24
+
13. It Was Jesus (mono version) (Cash) 2.04

LabelA1*
**

Norah Jones – Feels Like Home (2004)

FrontCover1Feels Like Home is the second album by jazz/pop songwriter Norah Jones, released in 2004. It sold a million copies in the first week of its U.S. release, the first album to do so since Eminem’s The Eminem Show (2002) and it was the second best-selling album of 2004, with about 4 million copies sold in U.S. It is also holds the record for the sixth largest first week sales for a woman, just behind Britney Spears’ Oops…! I Did It Again, Taylor Swift’s 1989 and Red, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way, and Swift’s album Speak Now, respectively. It sold approximately 1,000,000 copies on its first week in the US. In the Netherlands, it was the year’s best-selling album and the twenty-fourth best-selling album of the 2000s. Worldwide, this album has shipped over 12 million copies. Jones won the Grammy Award for Best Female Pop Vocal Performance for (“Sunrise”), and was nominated for Best Pop Vocal Album (Feels Like Home), and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for “Creepin’ In” with Dolly Parton. To support the album her record label recorded a commercial to be in televised in the U.S. and worldwide. In the commercial she dubs the three singles from the album. (by wikipedia)

Booklet03AIt may be far too obvious to even mention that Norah Jones’ follow-up to her 18-million-unit-selling, eight-Grammy-winning, genre-bending, super-smash album Come Away With Me has perhaps a bit too much to live up to. But that’s probably the biggest conundrum for Jones: having to follow up the phenomenal success of an album that was never designed to be so hugely popular in the first place. Come Away With Me was a little album by an unknown pianist/vocalist who attempted to mix jazz, country, and folk in an acoustic setting — who knew? Feels Like Home could be seen as “Come Away With Me Again” if not for that fact that it’s actually better. Smartly following the template forged by Jones and producer Arif Mardin, there is the intimate single “Sunrise,” some reworked cover tunes, some interesting originals, and one ostensible jazz standard. These are all good things, for also like its predecessor, Feels Like Home is a soft and amiable album that frames Jones’ soft-focus Aretha Franklin voice with a group of songs that are as classy as they are quiet. Granted, not unlike the dippy albeit catchy hit “Don’t Know Why,” they often portend deep thoughts but come off in the end more like heartfelt daydreams. Of course, Jones could sing the phone book and make it sound deep, and that’s what’s going to keep listeners coming back.

NorahJonesWhat’s surprising here are the bluesy, more jaunty songs that really dig into the country stylings only hinted at on Come Away With Me. To these ends, the infectious shuffle of “What Am I to You?” finds Jones truly coming into her own as a blues singer as well as a writer. Her voice has developed a spine-tingling breathy scratch that pulls on your ear as she rises to the chorus. Similarly, “Toes” and “Carnival Town” — co-written by bassist Lee Alexander and Jones — are pure ’70s singer/songwriting that call to mind a mix of Rickie Lee Jones and k.d. lang. Throw in covers of Tom Waits and Townes Van Zandt along with Duke Ellington’s “Melancholia,” retitled here “Don’t Miss You at All” and featuring lyrics by Jones, and you’ve got an album so blessed with superb songwriting that Jones’ vocals almost push the line into too much of a good thing. Thankfully, there is also a rawness and organic soulfulness in the production that’s refreshing. No digital pitch correction was employed in the studio and you can sometimes catch Jones hitting an endearingly sour note. She also seems to be making good on her stated desire to remain a part of a band. Most all of her sidemen, who’ve worked with the likes of Tom Waits and Cassandra Wilson, get writing credits. It’s a “beauty and the beast” style partnership that harks back to the best Brill Building-style intentions and makes for a quietly experimental and well-balanced album. (by Matt Collar)

NorahJones2Personnel:
Lee Alexander (bass, lap steel on 12.)
Andrew Borger (drums)
Kevin Breit (guitar, banjolin, background vocals)
Norah Jones (vocals, piano, pump organ on 09.)
Adam R. Levy (guitar, background vocals)
+
Brian Blade (drums on 12.)
Rob Burger (pump organ on 03. + 07.)
David Gold (viola on 04.)
Jesse Harris (guitar on 03. + 04.)
Levon Helm (drums on 02.)
Garth Hudson (organ on 02., accordion on 06.)
Daru Oda (background vocals, flute on 11.)
Dolly Parton (vocals on 07.)
Tony Scherr (guitar on 02.)
Jane Scarpantoni (cello on 04.)

Booklet05ATracklist:
01. Sunrise (Jones/Alexander) 3.20
02. What Am I To You?  (Jones) 3.29
03. Those Sweet Words (Alexander/Julian) 3.22
04. Carnival Town (Jones/Alexander) 3.12
05. In The Morning (Levy) 4.07
06. Be Here To Love Me (v.Zandt) 3.28
07. Creepin’ In (Alexander) 3.03
08. Toes (Jones/Alexander) 3.46
09. Humble Me (Breit) 4.36
10. Above Ground (Borger/Oda) 3.43
11. The Long Way Home (Brennan/Waits) 3.13
12. The Prettiest Thing (Jones/Alexander/Julian) 3.51
13. Don’t Miss You At All  (Jones/Ellington) 3.06

CD1

*
**

Tray1

Johnny Cash – The Fabulous Johnny Cash (1958/2002)

FrontCover1The Fabulous Johnny Cash is the third album by American singer, Johnny Cash. It was released on November 3, 1958 by Columbia Records, long after Cash’s departure from Sun Records, and was re-issued in 2002 by Sony Music’s Legacy imprint. The re-issue contains six bonus tracks and unedited versions of the songs. Legacy Records reissued the album in 180 gram vinyl for Record Store Day in November 23, 2012.

The album features five tracks written by Cash and backing vocal performances by The Jordanaires (who at this time were also regulars on Elvis Presley’s recording sessions for RCA Records). Overall, even though the album is only 29 minutes in length, it is considered one of Cash’s most cohesive pieces. This is largely because his sessions with Columbia were completed over a two-month period. That is greatly reduced when compared to the year by year sessions by Sun Records.[2] The Fabulous Johnny Cash was a successful debut on Columbia for Cash as it sold over half a million copies during its initial release. The album was recorded simultaneously with Hymns by Johnny Cash, released in 1959. (by wikipedia)

Booklet03AThese 18 tracks (12 of them from the original 1959 LP, The Fabulous Johnny Cash, and 6 of them recorded during the same sessions, but previously unreleased in the U.S.) captured Cash during a particularly vital period of his long, illustrious career. Cash first broke through in the mid-`50s with his now-trademark “boom-chicka-boom” rhythms and sonorous, drawling baritone on Memphis’s Sun Records; these are the earliest recordings from his nearly three decades on the Columbia label. Demonstrating an energy and down-home diversity that would later become even more fully realized, Cash herein moves deftly from introspective ballads (his original “Run Softly, Blue River”) and railroad songs (“One More Ride”) to cowboy ballads (his sardonic original, “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town”) and stoic laments like “I Still Miss Someone.” In the process, he refines a vivid musical persona that more or less became synonymous with country music in the 1960s. (by Bob Allen)

CD1If you even think of yourself as a casual Johnny Cash fan, do yourself a favor and hear this 2002 reissue of the first record Johnny did for Columbia in late 1958. It marks his “major label” debut, his deliberate turn from rockabilly/rock ‘n roll to country, gospel and folk songs, and the start of 28 consecutive years making big money with, and for, the company. This remastered disc, with six bonus tracks from the same two-month studio stint that resulted in the 12 original cuts, is really done right. The CD features the original cover and liner notes, plus a nice booklet and updated, detailed notes, and several period photos of John in performance. This effort was not only historically important for Johnny Cash, it was historic for me, too. I bought it when I was 14 and it was hot off the vinyl press. It was my first Cash album, my first stereo LP, and I liked 11 of the 12 songs (Only “Suppertime” seemed weak to me.) Somewhere around the early 70’s, my copy vanished. It was almost worn out, the cover was torn up by my many relocations, but I have no memory of what happened to it.

Booklet04AThe songs are good, the singing strong, and the guitar and bass from Luther Perkins and Marshall Grant and guitar from John himself are all wonderful. The only “dated” feel in the record are the backing vocals by the Jordanaires. Back in those days, “backing vocals” were thought to be vital on all kinds of records, pop, rock and country included. For instance, Buddy Holly’s hits had them, and many of Elvis’s too. In some songs, the vocal choruses do add some interest and contrast, but more often, to today’s ear, they could easily be eliminated. Their presence on “The Fabulous Johnny Cash” does not ruin any song, but we’ve learned in the 40-plus years since the album came out that Johnny does not need the help of The Jordanaires or anybody else to sell product. Listening to this CD today, for the first time in almost 30 years, I still love 11 of the 12 original selections (feeling “Suppertime” still is a bit weak), but I also like five of the six bonus tracks. (Only “Mama’s Baby” seems slight.) So, if you buy this, you’ll get 16 excellent examples of late-50’s Johnny Cash deliberately aimed at the country music customer of that time. Johnny’s reworking of the Frankie and Johnny saga song is clever; his version of the wanderlust train song “One More Ride” is one of the best performances of his entire career; the religious song “That’s Enough” is macho and unusual and stirring. You also get “I Still Miss Someone”, and I’ve heard a dozen other singers do that one over the decades, but no one has done it better than Cash, who wrote it. Next comes “Don’t Take Your Guns to Town”, and as the astute liner notes point out, this one has subleties only a careful listener will realize. It deservedly was a big hit and has retained its popularity as a classic Cash piece.

Booklet02AI also like “I’d Rather Die Young”, a morbid love ballad, and “Shepherd of My Heart” a happier love song. Johnny wrote “Pickin’ Time” in honor of the cotton growers of his native Arkansas. I live adjacent to the cotton growers of far West Texas, and the song is a nice tribute to them as well. “That’s All Over” is about rebounding from romantic rejection, and I liked it even before I was old enough to be rejected, or to bounce back. “The Troubadour” points to the “beyond the glory” moments in a star singer’s life. The bonus tracks, one assumes, are items which didn’t make the final list to be included on the album. I agree that they are slightly less interesting than the songs which were released, but not by much. “Oh What a Dream” and “Fools Hall of Fame” and “Walking the Blues” are each good rockabilly in their own right, and sound as if they should have been released on his prior label, the incomparable Sun Records. To sum up, Johnny did a fine album back then, and Columbia/Legacy has done a great job of updating, expanding and presenting it for the modern fan. The product is worth every penny they are asking for it. (by William E. Adams)

JohnnyCash1958

Personnel:
Johnny Cash (guitar, vocals)
Marshall Grant (bass)
Don Helms (steel guitar)
Marvin Hughes (piano)
Morris Palmer (drums)
Luther Perkins (guitar)
+
Buddy Harman (drums on 12., 13. + 16.)
The Jordanaires (background vocals)

BackCover1Tracklist:
01. Run Softly, Blue River (Cash) 2.22
02. Frankie’s Man, Johnny (Cash) 2.15
03. That’s All Over (Glasser) 1.52
04. The Troubadour (Walker) 2.15
05. One More Ride (Nolan) 1.59
06. That’s Enough (Coates) 2.41
07. I Still Miss Someone  (J.Cash/R.Cash) 2.34
08. Don’t Take Your Guns To Town (Cash) 3.03
09. I’d Rather Die Young (Smith/Vaughn/Wood) 2.29
10. Pickin’ Time (Cash) 1.58
11. Shepherd Of My Heart (Carson) 2.10
12. Suppertime (Stanphill) 2.50
+
13. Oh What A Dream (take one) (Cash) 2.01
14. Mama’s Baby (Cash) 2.22
15. Fool’s Hall Of Fame (Freeman/Wolfe) 2.10
16. I’ll Remember You (Cash) 2.07
17. Cold Shoulder (Hudgins) 1.55
18. Walkin’ The Blues (Cash/Lunn) 2.11

LabelA*
**